Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures iPhones, iPads, and Macs for Apple, and electronics for many others in the industry, has recently been hacked by a group called Swagg Security. They're currently sharing the fruits of their labour on The Pirate Bay. In a statement accompanying the leaked files, Swagg Security laid out their intentions (or lack thereof).
"We switched on BBC Radio, the leading source of unbiased material. A short segment on the manufacturer giant Foxconn, came up reporting on the inhuman conditions the workers experience. A few days later an almost viral rumor about an Iphone 5 with a 4-inch screen being manufactured, as claimed by an employee from the infamous Foxconn. Now as a first impression Swagg Security would rather not deceive the public of our intentions. Although we are considerably disappointed of the conditions of Foxconn, we are not hacking a corporation for such a reason and although we are slightly interested in the existence of an Iphone 5, we are not hacking for this reason."
So Swagg is doing it all "for the lulz", or just for the fun of it, in typical anonymous hacker fashion. According to their anarchist philosophy, screwing things up for big companies and corporations is a reward in and of itself. After flipping through the files, I didn't see anything much beyond a few hundred username/password combos which will likely be useless information once Foxconn resets everybody's credentials. CEO Terry Gou's e-mail address is in the files, which may have been used among other addresses to place fake orders through services.foxconn.com, but the site has for now been taken down. Beyond that, the only lasting effect I could imagine from the whole affair is improved attention to security on Foxconn's part.
Despite bruised pride, I see hacking that points out security holes without doing permanent damage to the company as fairly productive, once the victim patches up its system. If those behind the hacking get a good laugh out of it too, all the better. What do you think? Is anarchist hacking good to keep tech companies on their toes, or do these attacks need to be political in nature to be justified? Or is disrupting the operations of companies in any way ethically wrong, no matter how much of a philosophical spin you put on it?